Monday, December 31, 2012

Are New Year's Resolutions a Waste of Time?

New Years is a great time to reflect on the year and look forward to the coming years! However, I've learned not to say things that I just know I'm not going to do or quit right before starting leaving me feeling like a big loser. Goals and plans are important don't get me wrong.  They are necessary or we will just find ourselves drifting not growing allowing the world to just suck us in.  They are important to set boundaries, focus, how to spend our time and to keep your eye on what is important.  Life is to short not to be purposeful in everything we do. 

There have been so many years I would make list and be so excited I what I was going to accomplish.  However, within just a few months I found myself quiting and feeling like I was never going to accomplish anything.

The problem wasn't in the goals or the plans.  The problem was within me.  It doesn't matter how hard we try, push or strive we will never get to where we want until the change take place in the heart.  All these self help books talk about what we can or need to do.  They focus on  making  you believe it's all about you .  It will motivate you for a few moments and help you to some degree  but eventually  bring you back right back to square one. I'm not totally against self-help books, because they did help me. I'm all for personal developement.  However, there just is so much missing in these  type of books and can lead people in the wrong direction.  It's important to understand ,when we try to make things happen on our own we will always fall short somewhere in life.    Maybe we will get the job promotion but then the family will sacrifice, maybe we will make more money but in doing so our marriage gets neglected.  Maybe more people know our name, but we've missed out in our kid's dance recital, soccer games, helping with school work or missing family dinner.  When we try to make thingshappen anxiety, worry, fear, and stress are just a few emotions we will experience. I know many people who  run after the goals not taking time to take look within themselves and after reaching what they believe would bring them success and happiness left them miserable.

 Once we realize the real goal should be in our heart  allowing God to take your hand you will never loose.  Yes, it will not be easy but when God is leading you and placing in your heart what He wants you to  do, the people you love the most will never miss out!  God is organized.  He will not have you scattered all over the place leaving you feel like a big fat loser with an  elephant on your chest.

For 2013 yes have goals and plans but make sure you lay them at the feet of Christ and don't just be focused on the outer appearance.  The goals and plans will only work when you allow your heart to be changed first!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Some personal thoughts and prayer

One of my struggles in life is that I will get ahead of God.  I want Him to direct my steps, open the doors and lead me where He wants me to go not me forcing it or jumping to soon. I never want it to be about me only Glorifying Him.   My  other concern is not going when God has already told me what He wants me to do.  Allowing fear to stop me or using my kids as an excuse to hide.  I'm really good at hiding.  I'll step out but then run back trying to find some reason why it's not time or why it can't be me. What if God is telling me to go and I'm allowing the fears to speak louder than God.  I don't expect the journey to be easy.  I'm past the feel good in the moment and flying off my emotions.  I know what I'm gifted at and love what God has allowed me to do this far.  I love being a wife and mother.  I love what God has done in me and through me with my family.   I so love love helping, teaching and encouraging other women.  It is what I was born to do.  However, God is doing amazing things in our kids.  Wathing them live out their God given dreams brings us more joy than living mine!!! If God wants me to wait, I can.   Why then do I keep allowing fear to stop me or do I keep questioning God is it the right time?  Will God be so mad if I step out and try realizing the timing was too soon?  I don't think so.  I know he will redirect my path.  I also know in my heart he knows if I don't speak, write and teach part of my spirt will die.  He has began to open the doors again.  If my second ministry takes more time away from my family, I know God will show me. He  I've learned those lessons.  He has brough amazing women in my life and working towards something that only God could of put together.  Why still all  the doubt? 

Yesterday as I was spending time with God, he laid this scripture on my heart. I've read this before and it never had the meaning it did for me as it did  this moment in my life.  It is in the book of Luke when Elizabeth is speaking to Mary.  This verse just spoke to me at the moment I needed it most. " She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!"  Luke 1:46  It gave me so much peace in my heart about many things that have been on my mind. 

I know when I try to figure things out, I'm not trusting in the Lord.  It will be on his time.  I just need to continue doing what He wants me to do at this moment in my life.  His plans are much bigger and better than my plans.  It doesn't have to happen overnight and it won't.  One of my prayers is that I'm not just a speaker/teacher.  There are so many false teachers out there or people who mean well but are not truly living what they teach in their life.  I pray my life,marriage and my kids will be the fruit and reflection of what God has taught us.    God is not looking for perfection and this I know.  He just wants a heart that loves him and have the faith to do the work he has called you and me to do. 

If you struggle like I do, I pray that you hear the voice of God.  You trust him and allow Him to direct your steps.  I pray that you are not afraid to step out and do what it is our Lord is calling you to do.  It will not be easy but with God all things are possible.  I believe God and I believe what he has called me to do.  It will be fulfilled.  It is being fulfilled as we speak.  It might not be in front of millions of people right now but it's in front of the most important people in my life.  My husband and kids.

I do ask if you are my friend to please pray for me. I've began writing my first book.  I don't know anything about publishing or editing, but I know God does.  I'm doing my part, being prepared and know God will show me the next step after it has been written.    I also ask for prayers for help with my website.  I was able to get my site back but mark and I don't have any idea what to do next! 

I also ask you pray for me because there is a speaker and writing workshop I want to go to with proverbs 31 ministry. Please pray God will open the door financially for me to go.   I'm having the same feelings I had when I went to my first speaker training six years ago.  When I stepped out in faith, it was a life changing experience.  God spoke life into me when I had lost all doubt in myself.  As scared as I was, it was worth it!  I believe this is what I need again to get wisdom, direction on where to go next!!!  If I'm really honest, I want to go but afraid the women there will laugh at me telling me I don't have it in me.  I know that is crazy stupid talk!  I felt like this right before flying down to Florida for my first speaker seminar.  After leaving that experiene, I was mentored and went all across the United States and Europe within two years speaking, doing radio and appeared on TV. .  I met some amazing people.  It was totally God!!    Sometimes, we need others to see it in us and give us the extra nudge we so desperately need!!!  I know this is what my spirit  needs...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Raising Kids, Love and Santa Clause???

My kids know longer believe in Santa Clause.  Before I have people begin hating me because I don't encourage my youngest kids to believe in Santa, give me a minute!!! I know this is a hot topic for many people and this is not a blog on is it wrong to believe in Santa. It's a lesson on pride and judgement.  So, before someone judges me, give me some grace as I give you! 

We have our personal reasons why we stopped making Santa such a huge part of Christmas.  It's not wrong or right to either believe or not believe in jolly St. Nick!  It was extremely important for our kids to understand, know the reasons we were choosing to make new traditions and do things differently than many people we know.  To  focus on our family and what God has called us to do and live.  But, it's also so important for them to know and to accept and love other's for the choices, decisions, and traditions that  other families have.  For our kids not to judge other's and think we are better than anyone else.  When pride and judgement set in there will be a great fall.  Teaching our kids what that looks like and to live it as little people  will help prevent it from corrupting their heart,  and sabotaging the call on their lives as they grow into adults.

We can take a simple lesson our kids can relate to apply it to their life to teach them a huge life lesson that many adults still struggle with to this day.  We explained to our kids, know in your heart that we are doing is what God is calling us to do.  We do not need to prove ourselves right to others.This is prideful.  There was a time we made Santa a huge deal in our family.  It would of crushed us if someone would of wrecked it for our kids.  It was a big part of our Christmas celebration.    In time, their friends will find out the truth, until then meet your friends where they are   Knowing the truth in your heart. 

We as adults screw this thing called love, pride and judgement up all the time.  We wonder why we are not living fully in the presence of God or being able to go after the call on our lives.   Maybe because what God is requiring from us we are not willing to give him.  We need to give him first what he wants from us.  It's love the lord your God with all your heart, love your neighbor and not to judge others.  We can only judge ourselves.  We need to build relationships and bridges not walls. 

I know I've been so judgemental.  I had to repent and ask God for his forgiveness.  God has forgiven me, but I can't be upset when others judge me because of my own judgement. For every choice whether it is positive or negative there are consequences. ( I could write it all here but I'm saving it for the book I'm currently working on!)   We reap what we sew.  We can't stay in the past and need to  move forward.  We can say we are sorry to people we hurt, we can forgive, we can pray for those who hurt  us ( and should be doing this because it's what God commands us to do) but  this does not mean the relationships will be healed. It does not mean people will always love you back or even forgive you.  It's not our job to look at their life, try to figure it our or be depressed over it.  We need to love and trust our Lord.  There is nothing you can do only God can change someone's heart.  The one thing you can do is look at yourself with the help of God.  God is the only judge.  He is the only one who knows the entire picture not us.  We only know parts.  He came to take away all of our infirmities.  We need to surrender  EVERYTHING even our struggles over to him. Maybe this is why you may not have peace or joy in your life.  Maybe you are not experiencing all what God has placed in your heart.  Maybe it's because you surround yourself with people who tell you what you want to hear not what you need to hear.  Maybe you try to find anything you can to feed yourself reasons to be right or to stay mad?  It's it not healthy and it's not God.  If you feel like this, it could be because of pride and judgement.  It's so important that we see other's the way God  sees them. This goes for how we see and talk with our kids too.  Stop condemning, begin loving and build on the Word of God.

Judgement begins to sneak in my heart and when it does  God convicts me and I fall on my knees and repent.  I learn the lesson that God wants me to learn.  There are people in your life to teach you something about you.  If you are miserable or stuck in a rut it  has nothing to do with the people around you  but how you are responding.  There is nobody else we can blame but ourselves. 

You don't have to use Santa as a life lesson, but make sure you are teaching your kids lessons that will save them from making the many mistakes we have made.  However, make sure those lessons you are teaching just don't seem like fairy tales to your children.  Make sure they see you living out what you are teaching them or they will end up falling in the same pit repeating the same mistakes as you.  If  your kids are older and you feel you blew it, know there isn't anything impossible for God.  Ask for forgiveness, Seek him, knock and the door will be open to you as well.

A friend of ours was over last night.  The kids were asking her to come to church and she had reasons why she wasn't going.   My six year old looks at her and said, "we don't judge you."

Do not judge, so that you won't be judged.  For with the judgement you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye but don't notice the log in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye, and look there's a log in your eye?  Hyporcite!  First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.  Matthew 7:1-5

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Joy and Suffering at Christmas

The kids are at their grandparents and Mark is at work.  As I'm sitting here wrapping presents listening to Christmas music reflecting on this year.  My heart is overwhelmed with joy and at the same time a tremendous sadness.  God has blessed Mark and I in ways that will forever leave me grateful.  It literally takes my breath away.  He has also blessed us with friends that truly love us!  Who know our past and all our junk and still accept us especially me.  I have a big mouth, can be a terrible friend  yet they choose to look beyond my own struggles and  love me.

My heart is heavy too because with all the joy also comes pain.  My heart aches for the many families that will be having Christmas alone tomorrow.  For the families who are dealing with loss, sickness, financial issues and broken relationships.  My heart aches for my family and our own struggles.  For the brokenness in relationships with people we truly love. 

As I ask God for healing in all areas in my life, I pray for your family.  I pray for the families I may not even know personally.  I pray for my church and I especially pray for the people who may not know Christ or for them to know him at a much deeper level. As my heart is heavy and yet filled with joy,   God continues to remind me to continue to move forward keeping the eye on Christ and to remember that nothing is impossible for God.  God does answer prayers and they will be answered. If not in this life time you can count on it in eternity!!

To all my family and friends.  May you have a God filled Christmas.  May he pour blessing on to your family.  I pray for healing, restoration and a prosperous New Year!!! Thank you for the people who take time to read this blog.  For the family and friends who have allowed us to be part of your life, Thank You.  Whether we talk now or have crossed paths somewhere in life, you have been a huge blessing in my life whether you know it or not.   Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jack Daniels never sounded so good!

Christmas is here in 3 more days!!! Either you are ready for the big day or panic has now set it!! For some the list seems longer, if your kids go to school they are now home for Christmas break and the house is getting dirtier!!! The  ideas of making cookies with your kids, sipping on hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols just didn't turn out exactly how you envisioned it!!! You may feel overwhelmed not being able to meet all the demands that are being put on you.  You may feel busy but nothing seems to be getting done.  Money may be tighter this year. What you wanted to buy your kids, family and friends is now became only a hope for maybe next year, which makes you feel like a total looser.  Maybe the thought of seeing family members in less than 48 hours sends shivers up and down your spine! Because you feel the stress your kids are feeling it too!  They are having melt downs and you feel like joining them!  Instead of being filled with the spirit of Christmas you feel like the Grinch!  Instead of proclaiming Merry Christmas from the top of your lungs, you want to cry, kick your feet and scream BA HUMBUG!!!  Maybe just maybe as you are doing last minute grocery shopping your kids are filled with so much excitement  but instead of joining them, you feel like the worse mother in the world because they are on your last nerve!!!  But alas!!! You happen to walk down the aisle and reunite with your long lost best friend.   Jack Daniels!!! He is looking right at you!  You hear  him calling your name!!! How good does it sound!!! The thought of just a few sips could take you  into your own winter wonderland!

If this is you, I can relate!! For years, I put so much expectations on myself and on others.  It was never enough and felt like a failure.  (Still to this day if I'm not aware of it and let my guard down, the stress and pressure will start to way on my shoulders.  When this happens I take a few moments pray, focus on the good and let everything else go.) We spent money we didn't have on gifts nobody really needed!  We love to give!  We love to give to family and friends too. But doing it out of obligation or beyond your means and running your credit card to the max, is plain stupidity! If you can give gifts great and if you can't that is ok too! Now, when you feel the world sucking you in and just want to cry, try doing something from someone else. Look around at all you have been blessed with already.  Instead of looking at the lack of in your life, look for the blessings. You'll begin to feel the stress being lifted off your shoulders if for just a moment.   Ask God to help you see the world in his eyes.  The enemy wants to steal your joy.  He wants you to be self consumed and focus on your life and problems because this will keep you and me from loving  God and everyone else like the way God has loved us.  You may be going through some huge struggles right now. If this is you, I pray you find the strength and love of Christ.  By helping someone else, helps you see no matter what you are going through the blessings that are right in front of you.  Don't believe the lies nor let the world suck you in and take you down.    

Instead of reaching for Jack Daniels  to take your problems away reach for Jesus Christ. Now, God does want to work through each one of us.  He has a unique calling on each one of our lives.  But I doubt the majority of things on our list or what we are so stressed out about God is telling us to do!  God is peace not stress.  We need to be prayerful in all we do. He has not asked us to get our panties in a bunch because we haven't gotten all the Christmas cards mailed, cookies made to feed the entire neighborhood, he didn't ask you to buy gifts our of obligation nor did he ask you to stress out, live beyond your means and buy gifts your family and friends don't really need.  He didn't ask us to fight with our spouses nor scream at the kids or to let the bottle of Jack take all our problems away. 

Remember as the clock begins to tick and the nerves begin to get short, remember the manager, the baby and know Jesus is enough and so are you!  Your time and presence is all that he is requiring from you! To be honest that is all your family is truly looking for too.   At the cross Jesus said, "it's finished!"  Don't let the enemy win. Whatever doesn't get done, no big deal!  Take all the expectations you have put on yourself and give them to Christ! 

FYI: I do not try to pretend I'm perfect because I'm far from it!!! It's only because of Christ and what he has taught us! We aren't buying much this year and haven't even finished our shopping!  We'll go tomorrow!  I can finally say no stress for me this Christmas!   Whatever we do or don't do is enough! Christmas is not one day, it's everyday!   Remembering the true meaning of Christmas!!! Merry Christmas to all my family and friends!  I love you so very much!!!
Merry Christmas!!!! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Conversations at the Dinner Table

I read a question posted  by Joyce Meyer, "Everything you do give your best.  Have you given with excellence today?"  It made me think of my conversation with my kids at the dinner table the other night.  My youngest daughter  needed her bread buttered.  Everyone in my family knows ask Dad to butter bread not mom!!! ( Yes, we use real butter not margarine!)  I forgot to bring the stick of butter out of the refrigerator to let it soften before we sat down to eat.  The butter was brick hard.  I took the piece of bread and slapped the  butter on it!  I tried to spread it but then left a hole in the piece of bread!  Thinking nobody was paying attention, I passed the piece of bread to my youngest daughter.  My oldest looks at me and ask the question "would you serve this to the President?  My first thought was Yes!  She continued and asked, "Would you serve this to God?"  The answer of course was no.  Conviction comes in all sizes!  Yes, even from your own children.

Makenna has an amazing heart and for such a young girl packed with wisdom!  She's not your typical normal teenager ( not claiming she is perfect!)  and I'm so thankful!  She sure does keep her mother in line that is for sure!!!

Everything we do should be done with excellence for the simple reason because we love our God.  Everything we do matters to Him and yes even buttering the bread!!

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, Do it for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Simple is More than Enough

My son turned 10 years old yesterday!  Sometimes he gets the short end of the stick since his birthday is 5 days before Christmas!  We only do big birthday's for milestones.  Since 10 is a big deal in a young boy or girls life, we are throwing him a party.  However, he has to wait until the end of the December! On top of pushing his party to the end of the year, what I originally had planned for  him yesterday,  didn't turn out like I wanted.    Instead of going out to eat as a family to his favorite restaurant, at the last minute decided the best choice would be to stay home and celebrate.

When I asked him, if fettuccine Alfredo would be OK for his birthday dinner.  His response was, "sure mom!"  Now, the  only reason I could even make this meal was I found an EASY and I mean EASY recipe on pinterest!  My new best friend!  The kids loved it, which doesn't happen often!  They have learned to except whatever I cook for dinner and pray it will turn out OK!  When it does the entire family is happy!  We planned on baking a cake, but changed it to a big brownie.  Again, Markus was happy with whatever we made. 

As we are sitting a the dinner table with paper plates ( I didn't feel like washing dishes), all different size and shape glasses because the kids have dropped and broke almost every cup we have!  (Yes, I know I can buy plastic, but I'm weird and don't like using them!)  Some of  us had regular cups  and others had a coffee mug!  The brownie we ate for dessert had only 6 candles, because I forgot to buy them at the store. We couldn't lite the candles because the lighter wasn't working!  We all sang happy birthday with the six unlit candles watching my son with a huge grin on his face!   We gave him no  presents because his party at the end of the month is his gift.    We finished the night with hot chocolate and birthday spankings.  Nothing Fancy just a simple dinner celebrating his special day!

After we prayed and tucked the kids in bed, Markus screams to us from his bedroom and says, "Mom and dad thank you for the best birthday ever!"  It's all on how you view things!  God used Markus to remind us that simple is more and more than enough.

Remember this Christmas, the manger and the baby may be simple but  it's MORE than ENOUGH for you and me!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Change the World so Desperately Needs.

 After the horrific shooting that took place last weekend in CT, there are many different opinions and thoughts that are being talked about on what our county needs to do, to help stop this from happening again. However, when you turn on the TV, listen to the radio or even read comments on FB you will find  little talk about bringing God back into our lives. Unless,of course you are a  Christian.   However, the very same people who have kicked God out of everything, public schools, politics, families and even their personal lives are shaking their finger and saying, "How could such a good and powerful God allow this to happen.?"

I don't write this blog pretending to know all the answers.  I'm not an expert on anything.  However, I am a woman who loves my husband, kids, family, friends, church and most importantly our God.  I'm just to blame for all the junk in our world.  For years, I may have believed in Him but was not willing to live for him. Thankfully, God is a forgiving God!

We have become a society that loves to blame everyone for our mistakes.  It's not God who is to blame for the tragedies  we experience.   We are.   We are  responsible for the hate and violence in the world.  Every time we choose what we want or want we think over God, tragic events that took place in CT is the final outcome. These such events don't just happen overnight.  It starts with something small and with time grows to such a horrific tragedy, it leaves us paralyzed, wondering how could this happen?    We push God out of everything.   There are even churches that are choosing  to teach what they believe and think.  Instead of relying on the infallible word of God.  We try to make God work and fit us.  Only reaching out for him when we find ourselves in despair.  As soon as disaster hits, we ask God where are you?  "He is saying, I've been hear all along.  I love you and have been seeking you since the day you were born. He doesn't give up on us know matter how much we turn our back on him.  He does allow us to have our free will.  He will not force us to love, follow or accept him. His heart aches as he waits patiently for his children to come back to him.  However, as soon as disaster hits, God receives the blame. 

We are all sinners.  No, the average person would never do something to the extreme of what this shooter did in CT.  However, we are all one choice away from making a decision that will not only have a negative effect on our personal life but the lives of the people we love and may not even know.  We are all good at dressing ourselves up and hiding.  Trying to do what is good.  Go to work, show up at church, give a little and love the people who love us.  We may fool a few people,but we can't fool God.  He knows our hearts.   We have become a society that  thinks we deserve what ever we want. This may be hard for some people to hear, but  We deserve NOTHING.  We are all wicked people. It's so easy for people to look outward and compare themselves with  others. Thinking they aren't so bad considering what their neighbors or friends may be doing.   I dare you to look at your own life.  your own heart.  Asking God to reveal areas in your life where you sin.  You will be shocked.    When we harbor bitterness, hate, jealously, unforgiveness, selfishness, lust, sexual immorality and greed in our hearts, We are sinning against God.    We like to think our sin is  not as bad as the girl or guy down the street, or people sitting behind bars.  Sin is Sin.   The more we choose to sin we will find ourselves farther from the heart of God.

 It's not the laws that should be the focal point of our country.  It's the heart. How can we change the heart?  The only answer to this is the blood of Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to grow inside of each one of us.Thankfully, he doesn't expect perfection only a willing an open heart. It's about forgiveness.  Humbling ourselves before God admitting we need a savior.  God is a forgiving God.  There isn't anything God can't forgive. All we have to do is ask.   The more we walk and are full of the spirit the less we will sin.  Its only the Love of Christ that will change the heart of man.  Its only when the Spirit of God is alive in our hearts that will  stop tragedy like the one the world is experiencing today. I would like to say the world is going to get better.  Until we can turn our hearts from our selfish ways and turn back to Him, it will only get worse.

Christians, we can know longer allow the enemy to win.  We are especially to blame. It is time to wake up.   We hide allowing fear to keep us from the call on our lives.  For you did not receive the Holy Spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you receive a spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father.  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  Romans 8:13-17
  When we witness events in CT or in our surrounding neighbor hoods and do nothing, we are failing God. When we hear about 18 children that were brutally killed and do nothing expect talk about how terrible it is, we fail God.  When we hear that 3,700 abortions are given every single day and do nothing.  WE FAIL GOD.     God's heart is grieving when he looks at his people.  We need to wake up and do something.  If you don't, we are failing God and can't blame anyone else but ourselves.   When we see the children's ministry in our churches crying for help and turn the other way.  We are failing God. He has called each one of us to do something.  I don't know what it is for you, but it's time to step up,stop fearing people and begin to love, fear our God and do something.  The body of Christ needs all of us. If  you don't answer the call, then the people God wanted you to reach stay lost. The great author C.S Lewis was an atheist until he met his friend J. R. R. Token.  Think about the blessings they have given us because of their love for Christ and following the call on their life.  Maybe just showing up  and doing what He calls you to do, will change the direction of a child or  a families life forever.  It's not about you it's about him. Our goal should be for God to use us in whatever way He needs to in order to bring Glory to him.  It's not about our own success. We have this picture in our head that we deserve a perfect life with no pain.  We think we deserve to live a long and healthy life in this world. . Christ never made those promises.  He said the opposite that we will have troubles in this world. God does bring blessings.  However,  they don't always come as we pictured them.  It's about God using our lives to bring people to know him.  Whatever that may look like needs to be the goal, know matter how hard it may be.  I pray everyday for health and protection over my children, husband, family and friends.  I can't imagine what I would be like if I had to go through the pain and suffering those families in CT are dealing with today.  I have to remember to keep my eyes on Christ and pray that no matter happens in my life that through the blessings I don't forget him and through the sufferings hold on to Christ will all my heart.  Through my faith God will be glorified.   

It starts with repentance, which means asking for forgiveness, prayer and bringing Christ in your life.  and will It starts with you and your family. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.-1 John:9.   This Christmas ask yourself, "Do you know Christ?"  Do your children know Jesus?  Begin to allow him to work in and through you.  This is what is missing. Christ is our only hope.   I pray that you open your heart to God allowing him to change your heart.  This is when  we will see the change the world so desperately needs.   

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-29

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Road Runner and Coyote. What True Friendship should look like!

Do you remember the Bugs Bunny cartoon the Coyote and the Road Runner? They would spend all day chasing each other trying to pretty much kill one another.  Once, it was lunch time or the end of the day, you would find these two enemies walking towards the time clock to punch out.  As soon as they were off the clock, they were best of friends! 

Road Runner and the Coyote is a great picture of friendship. In order to have a healthy, unconditional love for one another, we need to put our pride down and  agree to disagree.  However, this is not always easy.  Especially, when we feel so strongly on our beliefs.  To my Christian brother and sisters we have to be careful not to let the minor issues blind us on the most important issue and that is the love of Christ.  (The one issue that is not negotiable is  knowing  we are sinners and without Christ we are nothing.  Christ is the Son of the Living God.).

No matter what our situation may be, if we claim to be followers of Christ, we have to be aware that there are just some people who cannot hear anything from you or me.( Those same people will not agree with you even if you agree with them!  They will always be looking for something.  Don't take it personal.  It's their issue not yours. Just be you and stay the course.)    This can happen with unbelievers or even within the body of Christ. We are all at different points in our lives.  Arguing, debating and trying to convince people will never work.  When we find ourselves in these situations, we cannot allow our emotions to get the best of us.  We need to be able to turn the other cheek no matter how much it hurts. Does this mean give up?  Stop standing up for what is right, good and noble?  Of course not! However, we have to be able to admit we may be right but we may be wrong at times too. The only way to know for sure if we are right or wrong  is instead of focusing on people and trying to proving yourself, we need to take whatever we are dealing, give it up and lay it at the feet of Christ and allow Him to do the work not you or me.

My hope would be that in our own country, instead of being divided, we could be like the road runner and coyote.  When I turn on the t.v, radio or on face book, it doesn't look like it to me.    What happened to the freedom of speech?  What happened to be able to have choices and free to have your own opinion?  If you don't agree with a certain political party, you are accused of being mean-spirited, prejudice, and closed minded.  Many people know where I stand on faith, politics, health and education. (You many not agree with me and that is OK!).  Some may not know, I use to be extremely liberal especially when it came to social issues.  Since then, I have had a change of heart.  However, when someone accuses me of being  prejudice or not caring for others they just don't know me or my heart.

In order to love unconditionally and have friendships like the Road Runner and Coyote  we have to rely on God for  his grace, strength and mercy.   To ask Him to continue to help show us  the areas in our lives that need to die.     We can only change ourselves, do what we believe God has called us to do allowing him to work through and in us and let Him do the rest.  Arguing, debating, trying to convince or change anyone will never work.  People have lost family and friends due to faith and politics. If this is you, first you have to ask God to reveal if there is any bitterness, pride, control, anger or jealously harboring in your heart.  If there is, then you need to ask for forgiveness.  If not,  shake off the dust off your shoes and move on.   To continue to pray for those who persecute you, love your neighbor and your enemies.

The Road Runner and Coyote is a great picture of friendship. No matter what, at the end of the day they never let something get in their way of friendship!   However, only Christ can help you be a true friend and do what is right.  He is the one we need to look and to depend on  as an example on how to love.  To forgive ourselves and to forgive people like Jesus did at the cross.  Remember,  People do what they do not know but  we still need to love and accept them anyway!   This means even if you disagree in your faith and Politics!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Advent Tree and the Poision of Perfection!

Here is a picture of the advent tree the kids and I made!  If you know me, you know I'm know Martha Stewart or Betty Croker!  Thankfully, I finally checked out what all the buzz was about with pinterest.  It's my new best friend!  Here is why:

I gave up a long time ago trying to be perfect! Perfection is a deadly poison and if not taken care of it can creep into every part of your life and keep you miserable.  Nothing will be good enough, you will always be diapointed, miss opportunity to enjoy, grow and build healthy relationships with you children, spouse, friends and even yourself.  This poison will even keep your sex life dull and boring! 

I'm not the kind of mom who knits, quilts, or sews!  I love this stuff but I have to be honest, real and know who I am and what I'm capable of doing.  When Markus was 4 years old, I had this great idea of making his Halloween costume. I love home made costumes, but they need to be the kind I can make out of a box or follow someone else's directions.  Not coming up  with the idea all by myself.  Let's just say my son, who is 10 years old, still has nightmares about his costume.  He was suppose to be Kung fu Panda. His friends had know idea who he was!  He will never let me make his costume again!  I've damaged him for life!!!

 However, I love and admire woman who are creative and gifted in areas like arts, crafts and baking.  Especially, when they can share  the simple and easy to do projects someone like me can do at home! I'm serious I need someone to spell out every step even something so little as thread the needle or turn on the oven!!!   I need women who are talented in these areas in my life because my kids love this stuff! 

Looking for EASY to do Christmas projects on pinterest, I came across some cute ideas for an Advent tree.  I didn't want to just go and buy something at the store, because it would cost me more and takes the fun away for the kids.  These crafty mom's helped me expand my mind and realize I could do this!  Except, it had to be something we ( meaning me) could create from the dollar store!

It's not the Mona Lisa or some wonderful art display!  But it's our own Advent Tree.  We bought a Christmas tree from Family dollar for $3.00, mini Christmas bulbs for $5.00 , white out to write the numbers from now until Christmas and a little box which I put different ideas to do from now until December 25th!  Things like read the Christmas story from the Bible, decorate bedroom doors with wrapping paper, make cookies, go look at Christmas lights, a live nativity seen, random acts of kindness, etc, you get the point!

This blog really isn't about the Advent Tree.  It's about being the best you that God wants YOU to be!  Not comparing yourself to others and not drinking the poisonous Perfection that many woman think they need to be.  If you get rid of this, you will enjoy this Christmas Season! 

I think I'm going to dedicate the next few blogs on killing Perfection!  There is no room for Perfection when you have four kids, home educate and trying to potty train all at the same time!!!

Do you ever feel like you are Pig Pen from the peanuts cartoon? Dirty and never good enough?

 When I post my blogs and talk about God's love, mercy, grace and forgiveness, It's real.  For those who love and seek Him, He has a special plan for your life.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

 You may not understand what or why He is doing what he is doing in your life, but He is good all the time.   I don't know what his plan is for your life, but for me I know it's Big! He is using me right now in a huge way with the four kids He has given me!
  God does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  His promises are not just for your friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members.  They are for you too. However, it's up to you.  Can you give up what you want  and exchange it for what God wants for your life.  Trust me, his plans are much better than what we could ever think of!  Can you give God all of you? Are you willing to keep persevering even during the tough times?  Believe me following Christ will not be easy.

In order to follow Jesus, we have to pick up our own cross and follow him daily.  In order to follow him we have to willing to die to ourselves.  Sitting around and talking about God and the dreams that you believe He has placed on your heart is one thing.  Actually setting out to do it and allowing Him to work in and through you is a completely different story.

It is so hard as much as I trust and love God.  God has called me to be transparent and share my life lessons to other people especially women and kids.  I love encouraging, inspiring, speaking and teaching God's word.  I love how God has used me to speak Life into my kids, husband, family, friends and even strangers I meet on any single day. However, it does't mean it's always easy.  I have been pushed away and laughed at by many people.  So, speaking life to myself, is a completely different story.  The closer I walk toward my calling that little cloud of negativity is hanging right over my head.  I sometimes feel like pig pen from the peanuts cartoon.  Never good enough with some dirty cloud or dust hanging around me.  Except Pig Pen holds on to his blanket, I'm grabbing on to Christ with all my heart, refusing to let the enemy or myself talk me out of what God is leading me to do. There are times I feel like just hiding in my house, closing down my blog and just keeping to myself.  Of course, I can't do that because I would drive my husband and kids bonkers!  Also, the enemy wins.It's not about me and what I feel. It's what I know. It's about him.   I will always question just what if.  It's not worth it.  The risk, the struggles, the negativity and even discouragement you may receive from other people, is not worth giving up on God's call on your life.   " Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 2-4

I ask God, "will these  negative thoughts and feelings  ever go away."  He hasn't given me a clear answer. However, what I do know is this.  It keeps me humble.  It keeps me focused and to rely on God for strength.  It's reminds me it's always about Him and never me.  To wait on Him.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2nd Corinthians 7-10

The thorn or cloud, whatever you want to call it, that likes to creep up over me,is worth it.  Especially, if it keeps me grounded and helps remind me of the pain and struggles people feel everyday.  I haven't gone through half of what many people are or have experienced.  If these moments of doubt and  fear  are what keeps my passion burning to help other people, then that little gray cloud can stay as long as it needs to.

My friends, if you experience any fear, it's not from God.  Don't give up.  You are not alone in this fight! If you need prayer, please let me know.  You can send me an email, post it on my blog or on my facebook page.  I ask if you would pleae keep my family and myself, in your prayers as well! 

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morningPslams 30:5

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Are you tired of Laundry? Here are a few tips on keeping your laundry from turning into mountains!

A few years ago, I found myself downstairs with what seemed like a mountain of clothes!  I thought maybe the scripture, "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it would move'."- Matthew 17:20, would work!!!  It was moving alright! Just not in the direction I was hoping for!  It was taking over my entire laundry room floor.  This just didn't happen once in awhile. It was all the time.

 The kids were much younger at the time.  I would spend an entire day trying to get the clothes all caught up.  As soon as the clothes were cleaned and put away, the mountain would already  begin forming. I would want to scream and I probably did!  We have a shoot and the kids loved using it! (I think everything was thrown down it including toilet paper and toys! If I couldn't find something, I new where to look,  In the pile under the shoot!)   Because we didn't see the dirty clothes, we wouldn't bother to  look until we had nothing in the drawers to wear! I would walk downstairs and the mountain would be staring right at me!  I just wanted to run back upstairs and pretend it wasn't there!!! Couldn't we just go and buy new clothes and throw the dirty ones away!  Of course I didn't o this, but it sure crossed my mind.   Mark would be scared to put any of his clothes down the shoot, because he didn't know when the next time he would see the shirt, pants and even underwear again!  Thankfully, he is a guy and if needed he could just turn his underwear inside out and wear them again! ( I'm just joking kinda!)

As a mom, if we want to get better at something and grow we need to drop our pride and ask for help!  I want to be the best me that God has planned for  me to be.  I don't want to be anyone else.  I know who I am, what I'm strong at and what I desperately need help with and organiztion is one of them!  . If it wasn't for the grace of God and the people he placed in my life that have taught me how to be a better wife, mother and woman, I would still be a hot mess! I would still be complaining about everything but not willing to learn, try something new and change!   I'm still a work in progress.  However, without God and the beautiful people I have learned from, I wouldn't be who I am today. 

One day, my mom who I love dearly, came over to help me!   I seriously don't know what I would do without her.  She gave me a great idea on how to keep my laundry organized! 

If you are like I was and just sick and tired of your mountains of laundry, here is what I do.  If it helps great and if you think I'm a crazy person that is cool  just ignore this blog! You probably have a better plan than me.  I'm a slow learner and if there is anyone out there like me, this simple idea might save you from the hours I was wasting and the  stress I was feeling! 

My mom told me to buy a laundry basket for each room.  The kids have a basket, one in the bathroom and one in our room. This way we see the basket and when it begins to fill up, it's time to do a load of laundry.  This keeps it from forming into the out of control piles that would make me feel so overwhelmed.  This helps me do at this one load of laundry every other day.  Sometimes less and maybe sometimes more, but this way I don't have to spend hours folding and cleaning clothes.  Plus there is an added benefit!  My kids learned how to do their own laundry! They know when their basket is getting full,   walk the basket downstairs, sort the clothes, wash and dry them!  I do help them from time to time, but you better believe each kid except for Marie knows how to work the washing machine , dryer, fold clothes and put them away! It has helped me out so much.  Also, it has been a great teaching tool for the kids!

There you go!  If you are sick of your mountains of clothes in the basement, this is one idea.  You may not be able to tell the clothes to move from here to there, but you can create your own ideas that work for you, so you don't have the stress of spending your day off doing laundry or running around the house like a crazy person trying to find something clean to wear!  ( Been there and done that a million of times!  I was sick of doing that and new something needed to change! The change was within me!)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Loneliness is a scary place to be.

Loneliness is a horrible place to be.  Unless, you have gone through it, there is no way to describe the reality of giving up, running away or worse yet ending your own life.  Loneliness can be hidden and most of the time can fool everyone around you.  Loneliness doesn't mean you have no friends, family, success or sit in your room never coming out doors.  Loneliness doesn't mean you don't love Jesus.  Actually, you could be part of a thriving church, serving, showing up on Sunday's worshiping God, surrounded by people who love and know your name and still be lost in Loneliness.

If you are going through a time in your life where there it seems like the light will never shine in your favor again, I hope  this blog will breath at least an ounce of hope back in your soul.  I don't know your story, where you are in your life or what you have experienced. However, when it comes to loneliness  I can relate.  I've experienced it more than once in my life.  It's the enemy's way to keep you from the life God has promised you.There are different levels of Loneliness and some are more serious than others.  For some it may just be a season but for others it has taken it's own identity and controlling the persons life.  For some, it begins to  whisper little negative comments  in your head until it blows up to full blown lies that you truly believe as truth.  The reason I can say make these comments because I have experienced my own personal dark times.  One in particular was shortly after Mark and I were married, I was diagnosed as bipolar.  For years, I was ashamed of the diagnosis, my mistakes and so afraid of what someone might think of me.  I was alone even though I was surrounded by people who truly loved me.  They had no idea the pain I was dealing with on the inside.  I know what it feels like to think you are just a screw up and ending your own life might be the best thing for the people you love. I couldn't stand hurting people by my own actions anymore.  

Looking back on it now, I believe it was a misdiagnosis.  I was definitely depressed but labeling me as bipolar on the first visit and loading me up on tons of medication was not the answer.  However, for me at the time it was.  It was an excuse to not have to look deeper in the mirror at myself.  I used it as a crutch, excuses to drink way to much alcholol, act out of control  and to  get some sort of attention even if it was negative.

But God does not take those dark times and waste them. I learned some of the most powerful lessons  about, others and judgement.  See, I didn't realize at that time, God was beginning to call me in women's ministry.  Going through those times and feeling the pain that the majority of people feel everyday, would help me relate to others.  Don't let someone's life fool you and think their life is perfect and you are just a big looser. Nobody has a perfect life.  Some just know how to dress  it up and disguise their loneliness with money, success, fame or just business.  Some peopole may try to fool you and act like they have it all going on but when they get home and the door is closed, it's a different story.  Even people who are married sometimes don't even know the pain their love one is struggling with.  It's time to reach out to other people.  You just don't know, how God can use you to help just one person who feels like they don't have a friend in the world or how nobody understands.

Whether or not I was bipolar, I don't know.  I do know my parents, mark and I went to church every week.  I prayed. I remember my mom praying so hard.  I truly believe the healing power of Jesus is what healed me.  I don't regret going through what I did.  I made me who I am today.  A lover of Jesus Christ and someone who wants to be used by God to help anyone else that may be suffering today.

Jesus is the only answer. In His own words,  "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me." -John 14:6.  
You may know, believe and have a relationship with Christ but have never truly experience the healing power of God.  My friends, today let it begin the day of giving it all to Christ and walking away from complete loneliness.  It will never be easy but with Christ all things are possible.  It's time for you to be in complete freedom.  It's time to stop believing the lies of loneliness.  There is help, it's up to you to reach out to the people God is placing in your life. 

Please click here, if you would like to follow!